Holidays and the Diet Dilemma

Holidays and the Diet Dilemma

I’m often asked to provide tips to keeping weight under control during the holidays. Unfortunately, this is so classic to what our society believes and will keep us focused on our waistline and counting calories instead of spending quality time with loved ones. Food may be in abundance as usual during holiday seasons, and listed below are my three preferred (and perhaps kinder and gentler) tips for the holidays:
 
  1. Avoid the deprivation-binge cycle: Start your day with breakfast and fuel your body throughout the day! Many people think they should “save their calories/hunger” for the feast that they are about to encounter, when actually they are making themselves more vulnerable to overeating.   Start your day with breakfast and honor your body’s internal cues of hunger and satiety.
 
  1. Dress for success: Wear comfortable clothes that you like, that express your personal style and that feel good to your body.
 
  1. What to eat: Remember the motto, “All foods can fit into a healthy diet in variety, moderation and balance!”  Fill your plate with a variety of foods from the main food groups (carbohydrate/grains, protein, fat and plant-based food). When eating try to engage all of your senses. Try to eat mindfully and intuitively by honoring your body’s internal signals of hunger and fullness. Often times at holiday meals people find themselves eating quickly because it may be a food they really enjoy and/or may have not eaten in a long time. Practice pacing yourself and staying in the moment. You may find that when you eat mindfully you may not feel the need to finish everything on the plate.  Then again, if you do, remember it is one day/meal and not necessarily a pattern (fluid retention/weight changes can come from increased salt intake, but this is typical from day to day).
 
Remember, the holidays are more than food, but the special foods are also a lovely and important part of celebrations. Shame and guilt about eating at any time do not promote health or well-being. Enjoy those things that make this time of year special, especially now with our extra necessary safety precautions. This is a great time to reflect, spend time with loved ones however we can, and feel grateful for blessings received.
 
Janice Baker is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician and Board Certified in Advanced Diabetes Management at Palomar Health and Arch Health Medical Group. Janice can be reached at (858) 675-3179 or Janice.Baker@Archhealth.org.
 
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